By Cara Sulieman
SCOTTISH women are getting through the credit crunch by selling their jewellery through ‘gold parties.’
The parties are similar to the Tupperware gatherings of the 1970s and give women the chance to part with their gold for a wad of much needed cash.
After starting in America at the end of last year, the craze has swept across the ocean and is beginning to take hold in Scotland.
A sales rep sets up shop in the party host’s home and uses gold-testing equipment to calculate the value based on the carat, weight and market price.
The owner can then choose to sell it, but if they change their mind are under no obligation to do so.
Ounces to Pounds, one of the UK’s first gold party firms, have had six enquiries from people in Glasgow and Edinburgh in the last week alone.
They will be sending a sales rep up to carry out the parties, and if it goes well they plan to hire Scottish staff.
In the three months since the firm started, they have had 25 parties at homes across England, as well as arranging exclusive gold-selling events at other venues such as Fulham FC and Guilford Golf Club.
“Like they’ve won the lottery”
Stephen Pearson, 43, head of the UK operations for Ounces to Pounds, said: “We’ve had people waving cheques around like they’ve just won the lottery.
“There are three reasons for the success of the firm. First is gold is at an all-time high, it’s pretty much tripled in the past couple of years, it’s trading at £605 an ounce and it’s still rising.
“Combine that was the recession, people are looking for new ways to make cash.
“Thirdly the most important fact is that there’s obviously a huge stigma about walking into a pawn shop. This takes away all of that stigma.
“The prices we pay are about three times more than pawn shops because we are buying in sufficient volume.”
The firm started in Las Vegas and now has offices around the world including Australia and one opening soon in Spain.
January Thomas, president of American’s first gold party firm, MyGoldParty.com, explains that most of the items brought to the parties have been sitting around gathering dust for years.
He said: “Most of the items we see have been sitting in a dresser drawer for five, 10, 15 or even 20 years.
“If you haven’t worn something in over five years, chances are you won’t be wearing it in the future. Plus, many items we see are broken.
“This is the first party where people can get together without feeling obligated to buy something. Instead, guests get to leave with money.”